A lot has happened since we last wrote. We loved spending a few days with David and Shelby in San Luis Obispo, California and snuggling with our new granddaughter, Evelyn. What a precious gift from God!
We traveled back to Quito from California. We were required to have a negative Covid test in order to enter back into Ecuador. We are thankful that God provided and we received the results in time to travel. Our travel day was mostly uneventful and we arrived back home safely. The only crazy part started about halfway through the flight from Miami to Quito. The young man sitting right next to Scott started to cough and sniffle, and it continued for the rest of the flight! Another requirement was to spend our first 10 days in quarantine at home, and it certainly seemed like a good idea this time. Thankfully, we never saw any aftereffects from our concerning social interaction!
When we got back, we were happy to find that we can order groceries online and have them delivered right to our door. Things are still much more restricted in Quito than what they were in Kansas. Masks are required everywhere outside of our home, including in our car. We are only able to drive 3 days a week. The curfew continues, but it has been extended to 11:00 pm. Churches are still not able to meet together.
Unfortunately, because of the economic situation caused by the current challenges, Alliance Academy has been greatly affected. They lost about 200 students (over a third) and had to let many staff and teachers go, Kristi being one of them. Pray for wisdom for Kristi to know how best to use her time. She has started physical therapy here in Quito and continues to see improvement in her shoulder recovery.
Lindsey started 10th grade this year and is studying online. She misses the daily physical contact with friends and can’t wait for the day when she can actually go back to school and not have to be on the computer all day long.
Scott has a couple of upcoming opportunities to teach online. The first is only a potential since the dates haven't been set yet. It's for a group of pastors in Chimborazo Province whom Scott has taught before. This time they are asking for more training regarding the inductive Bible study method. They are hoping to get something organized on Zoom for September. Since these guys are mostly rural, the technology and bandwidth is a little more of a challenge. You can pray that God would enable them to study together. If it works it could open the door for more frequent classes for an area of the country that doesn't have as many opportunities.
The other opportunity is more certain. One of the Quichua believers has made initial efforts at starting a seminary that will function online permanently. He invited Scott to teach an overview of the Old Testament starting in November. The big challenge is that for now they are only meeting one hour per week. It will take a long time to finish the whole OT at that pace! The key will be to start with the Pentateuch and see where things go from there. Some of Scott's work in the next month and a half will be to map out a plan for the upcoming sessions in this class.
An App for That
Some of you are familiar with goTandem, an app for cell phones from Back to the Bible. They have given Avant Ecuador the opportunity to develop our own app using the same platform. We created one called UME Ecuador. It will send daily scriptures, devotionals, Bible teaching and prayer requests to anyone who installs it on their phone.
Scott has been learning how to manage the app, and he recently finished getting it ready enough to start promoting. Pray that many people will give it a try. Pray that God will use it to connect people more with the Scriptures and with quality Bible teaching. Maybe it will be an especially useful tool for these challenging times.